Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Man of Letters and Two Biking Missionaries Seen in Pomona

Yesterday I worked the 31st Annual Historic Home Tour in Pomona. The 200 block of Garfield was blocked off with vendors, which included David Allen selling his book. I'm proud to say I finally bought a signed copy from "A Man of Letters" himself.
While walking home I was approached by the two biking Mormon missionaries of Pomona. I've been wanting to photograph these guys for the blog for years. They stopped to ask me what was going on the neighborhood, so I finally had them stationary to ask for a photo. The slight aura around them was not photoshopped, that's the real deal!

The one on the left, Elder Geeding has been in Pomona a few months and will be returning to his hometown in Missouri soon to attend college. That's Elder Rangle on the right, a newbie to Pomona, from Utah. Their coverage area extends down to Holt Street, so I had to get their thoughts on our town. Elder Geeding said he had been in East L.A and was warned about "Dirty Pomona" before coming here. He said "Dirty Pomona" has not been his experience at all, and he's enjoyed getting to know the nice people here.

We all agreed that Pomona needs more bike paths. Maybe if we build them, we will encourage more young people riding around Pomona for a good cause, or at least fewer bicycle fatalities. I say build them and find out. THE END

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Pomona Chickens Get Around

The below shorts were filmed in Pomona and feature Pomona chickens "Ginger" and Django.

Yard Sign Blues

Thankfully it is a slow election cycle so we won't be seeing many campaign signs littering Pomona's empty lots and corner houses this year. The only office up for grabs is for the Mt. Sac College District with only two candidates running. One of them is already littering my Lincoln Park neighborhood with signs, so I will be voting for the other one: Mr. John Mendoza (who was considerate enough to leave me a brochure on my door this weekend rather than making me look at campaign signs for the next month). As Mr. Big's Staples button says, "That was easy."

Friday, June 05, 2015

Pomona Trees Have Style

Here's my favorites around town:

Winner of the most emotional tree (especially in the fall when this photo was taken) is the walnut tree at Towne and Mission. Located in front of the New Town Grill whose Chef Fred boasts a special sauce and the motto, “Barbeque for more people."

The tallest tree in Pomona is a palm located in Lincoln Park. Some nights it's taller than the moon.

Most screwed up tree has to be the corkscrew palm on Lower Indian Hill Blvd. Head south from San Berdoo Avenue and you will see it on your right before you hit Holt. Most perfect looking trees, to the point of looking fake, are in stone planters along Second Street downtown. They are decked out in a necklace of lights year round. Anyone know what kind they are?

Lastly, the most unconventional on the list, is the "Molles Manor Family Tree" on lower Towne Avenue north of Philadelphia. The family tree lists each family member, where they live now and how many miles they landed from that spot where they grew up. Pretty cool, plus it's drought tolerant.

Be sure to list your favorite Pomona tree below.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Thinking Good Thoughts for Pomona

I call the intersection of Garey and Alvarado "The-Little-Intersection-That-Could" after the children's story of a similar name. In the story of The Little Engine That Could, a struggling train takes the load other trains reject and literally wills itself to the top of a hill using the mantra, “I think I can.” The intersection of Garey and Alvarado, like much of Pomona, has heart and character, but has been left behind in terms of potential and possibilities. According to real estate statistics, 44,000 people pass through that intersection every day, including me. That's almost one third the population of Pomona. Passing through, I usually visualize how the intersection could be improved.

But for the first time in maybe decades, 2015 has seen visible progress at that intersection.

One corner now hosts a Starbucks which was built from the ground up where the abandoned gas station used to be. It opened in April to waiting lines of customers and has had non-stop business ever since.

Another corner is home to the Pomona Auto Lodge, whose current owners took down the iconic sign and reinvnted themselves as the Garey Motel. The good news is there is an interior and exterior makeover going on at the motel. Additionally, the troublesome pay phone at that corner has been removed.

On the third corner still sits Stater Bros., a dependable classic, whose vintage storefront fits right into the historic neighborhood that surrounds it on every side. This is the last Stater Bros. standing of the three that were once in Pomona.

The final corner of the puzzle is the Old Firehouse Restaurant building, whose weeds have been cut and spray painted green by the City to look like grass. The building itself, unoccupied forever, makes great street art as it patiently waits for it's next tenant.

As the improvements at that intersection pick up steam, so does my confidence in Pomona. So many of us have been hoping and visualizing good things for all of Pomona. It sure seems like our collective will power is finally creating change. Let's all keep thinking good thoughts.

You can now read the Goddess of Pomona at Pomona's new online newspaper

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Proposed Bike Route: Pomona to Claremont to Pomona?

My bike lived safely and happily in Pomona for many years. My family used to tease me about my attachment to the bike, because it was screwed up mechanically and looked a bit worse for the wear. But I used the bike A LOT and to me it was the coolest, most retro looking bike I'd ever hope to own. I even used to keep the bike inside the house becuz I was certain it would be the first thing to catch someone'e eye should our garage ever be broken into (which has never happened, even here in big, bad Pomona!).

So imagine my surprise when my bike was stolen recently from the very public square at the Claremont Village Expansion. I just assumed it would be safe there, safer than my own house. I mean nothing bad ever happens in Claremont, does it? Least of all not to my beloved bike of all things?

As a Pomona resident, we are brainwashed to believe pesky urban crime only happens in our town, or at least on our part of Towne Avenue. So I had to laugh when the Claremont police detective told me that many bikes stolen in Claremont show up at pawn shops on Holt Street in Pomona. Ahh, the Pomona connection I have been trained to expect. Or perhaps it's just the cycle of life.

Here's hoping that whoever took my bike will route it back to Pomona, and to my waiting arms and heart. I would hate for my bike to simply die a slow death in Claremont or take on an underground, marginal existence in Hesperia. But, the reality of the situation is I'll probably never see my bike again, much less know what it's next route in life ended up being. Goodbye beautiful Pomona bike.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

909 Film Festival This Friday October 24

The 909 Film Festival is free and being held this Friday. All of the films are created or shot in the 909.

Here's the particulars:

10/24/14 at Benson Auditorium Pitzer College in Claremont! Doors open at 6:30PM and the festival starts at 7PM. 1050 N. Mills Ave. Claremont, CA 91711 You can park right on Mills Ave. or in the Sanborn Parking lot.

The GNOMIE award is awarded to the winner of the BEST 909 Movie!

Here's the winner from last year, Prince of Pomona by Jim Lujan.

See you there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lincoln Park is getting a Starbucks. No, seriously.

YOu know the deserted gas station at Alvarado and Garey? They fenced it off last week and demolished the tanks and building. I was driving by this morning and saw a foreman for the construction out on the street, so I stopped to ask what they were building. I was thinking it was going to probably be something I would never use like a laundry mat for the folks over at the Pomona Lodge, or a janitorial supply store. I just about crashed the car when the guy told me it was going to be a Starbucks. Really, a Starbucks? I hope this guy was not playing a practical joke on me. The alarm company guy was right next to the foreman and assured me it was true.

I had always envisioned a funky coffee shop such as the one above, but after being subjected to that abandoned corner for 11 years now, well I am actually pretty over the top happy that Corporate America is coming to Lincoln Park. Anything that increases the amount of people walking, talking, biking and now drinking cofffee in Lincoln Park is a good thing.

What I am not so happy about is the lack of any publicity about these things coming before they are actually a done deal. Such as the Walmart grocery store up at Arrow and Towne, which is taking the longest time to get built btw. We are definitely getting the Pomona treatment on that one. It's sad becuz the mini mall where the Walmart is going in is finally at full capacity. I worry that some of those small businesses with delightfully funky names and signs will be put out of business when the new Walmart grocery store finally comes to town. I think there is this feeling that any business, be it Walmart or an exotic foot parlor, is welcome business in Pomona becuz we are so desperate to fill our vacant buildings. I think it's important for Pomona to keep our funky, handpainted sign vibe while still being vibrant and clean.

I keep thinking there is a catch with the Starbucks, tho. Will we be getting a "drive thru only" Starbucks with no foot traffic or something like that? Something "Less Than" when we deserve so much more?

If my coffee drinking friend is any indication, at the prospect of being able to walk to the corner to get her Starbucks iced teas, the reaction was "Shocked but Stoked." Truly. Should be one busy Starbucks full of familiar faces... THE END

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Poly Trolley

In looking for photos of Pomona's Art Walk Trolley, I found out about Cal Poly Pomona's hot truck: The Poly Trolley.

The truck's wallpaper pays tribute to Kellogg's arabian horses and that omnipresent Pomona sun. They have their own website, and a twitter if you want to find out where they are on any given day and try out the food.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

It takes a village of seats to make a sign in Pomona

I didn't know that the Pomona Packing Plant sign was made by Juan Thorpe of Bunny Gunner from rescued theater seats from the Pomona Fox. It was already my favorite sign in Pomona these days, but now I like it even better.

For those that don't know, the historic packing plant was developed by Jeved Management (the Tessiers) and turned into live/work space for artists. It opened this past Fall.

What is most interesting to me is the pioneering location of the Pomona Packing Plant. If it was on this map, which it isn't, it would be well outside the top right corner, some distance from the art gallery core of Pomona. Expect to see more galleries pop up NORTH of the railroad tracks and EAST of Towne Avenue.

Don't get me wrong, the Pomona Packing Plant is worth driving to. To prove it is this map showing the Art Walk Trolley has a stop there.

The trolley has a village of very nice wood slat seats, which should not be used to make a sign any time soon.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Urban Acupuncture for Pomona

According to this article in the L.A. Times, the mayor of Los Angeles is proposing what he calls "urban acupuncture" on city streets to attract people and business. The proposed urban acupuncture is in the form of "bike racks, plazas and crosswalk upgrades."

According to Finnish architect Marco Casagrande, credited with coining the term:
"Urban acupuncture is an urban environmentalism theory which combines urban design with traditional Chinese medical theory of acupuncture. This process uses small-scale interventions to transform the larger urban context. Acupuncture relieves stress in the body, urban acupuncture relieves stress in the environment. Urban acupuncture produces small-scale but socially catalytic interventions into the urban fabric."

In other words, urban acupuncture is a cheap fix to making a city more livable. Even something like using Pomona's existing sidewalks to establish walking zones. The "Palomares Walk Zone" could run from Lincoln Park to downtown and continue down to Grand Avenue. The only item required to do it would be periodic "Walk Zone" signs, making it simple, cheap, and doable. Signs could be sponsored and funded by individuals, groups and businesses who would receive small credit on signs they purchased. This is a great opportunity for places like the Trash Transfer Station and Western University to give back to the community. So come on Pomona, I promise it won't hurt.

If your Pomona body needs a more personal form of accupuncture, it sounds like Shawn's on Temple is the Yelp favorite.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wheel of Fortune Friday

My favorite business on Mission is bright green and specializes in green and trendy food gardening supplies.

It's Mission Hydroponics of course. I especially like their groovy van, complete with the Pomona wheel. The van is actually for sale for $2,000. Tempting, I know.

fyi, hydroponics is the latest craze for urban vegetable and fruit gardeners, so it's nice to see Pomona on the cutting edge.

Another business with their own take on the Pomona wheel, flourescent pink in this case, is the Pomona Clothing Outlet located way to the east on Holt Street. Shirts are 3 for $10.

I'm going to keep a look out for other businesses that incorporate the Pomona wheel logo on their storefront. Email me if you see one. Maybe I can make it a regular feature on the blog.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Will the real Goddess of Pomona please stand up

A friend told me today they heard I dressed up in a costume and attended David Allen's booksigning the other day. Not this Goddess of Pomona. And I wasn't the Goddess of Pomona that rode in a car draped with a Goddess of Pomona banner for the Xmas parade a few years ago either. Rather, I was the Goddess of Pomona standing on the parade sidelines without an umbrella in the rain that year.

I was trying to explain to my friend today that I don't hold a corner on the market for being the Goddess of Pomona. I just happen to own the domain name, and the email addy on gmail, yahoo and There are tons of us here in Pomona doing what we can to make the place better, even though you won't see us win awards or necessarily dress up in costume.

I am glad another Goddess of Pomona brought such enthusiasm to David Allen's book signing event. And I'm kind of relieved I didn't go because showing up in the same outfit as someone else may have been, well, kind of embarrassing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Final Pay Phone Booth

Salon online magazine bemoaned the death of phone booths, even in the Mojave Desert. Perhaps it is not surprising to anyone who read the news over the weekend: the last pay phone in Pomona stands

at Alvarado and Garey, to the side of the Pomona Auto Lodge.

Today's post is not about pointing out that Pomona's last pay phone exists, but trying to make the best of it since it does. And no, I didn't get out of my car to take this picture!

To fight the crime they attract, cities have made phone booths into public art, like aquariums.

Enterprising business people have even turned them into kiosks, like this dog and bone pub.

Someone told me other cities fight crime by giving their problem residents vouchers for the Pomona Auto Lodge. This is consistent with who appears to be using Pomona's Final Pay Phone Booth. The problem is folks don't appear to be dialing someone to take them back home.

My husband told me "social policy," has pre-determined that corner will be a crime magnet. I've not the time to sort it all out, but I did have an idea.

The Final Pay Phone Booth Book Exchange.

Here's how it works: During daylight hours when the coast is clear of murder investigations and drunk dialers, leave a book by the phone. If enough books are left, feel free to borrow a book from those left by others. Repeat the cycle. A sign might be nice too. Together we can make an honest woman out of Pomona's Last Pay Phone Booth. Or at least encourage reading at that corner.

It could always be worse. According to this 2007 google maps photo, Pomona's Final Pay Phone Booth used to have a partner in crime.

Pomona's Final Pay Phone Booth: give her some love today.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pomona Growth

Today's photograph is of the Center Street Community Garden, with the Monterey Station Luxury apartments growing in the background.

Apparently this image is only temporary since the City owns the community garden land and word is they plan to sell it.

If the Center Street Community Gardens gets uprooted (which I really hope they don't!), perhaps the dirt and gardens can be moved to the empty gravel lot across from the Pomona Library parking lot on Garey. The set up could be sort of like this Atlanta Veterans Farmer's Market, but leaving the gravel area larger, so the lot can still be used by the City for overflow parking.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Crepe Myrtle Festival on Garey

A happy ending to the mystery of why hundreds of trees were chopped down on South Garey Avenue. According to an engineer with the City, the old trees were breaking up the sidewalks, so the City redid the concrete and intends to replace each and every of the 300 some trees they took out.

If you drive down Garey this week, you will see the newly planted crepe myrtle trees, as well as holes where more are slated to go in.

Not sure if all of this will warrant a crepe myrtle festival, but dang if the street doesn't look so much better already!

Some facts about crepe myrtles: they are deciduous (lose their leaves in the winter), bloom in the summer, drought tolerant after a couple years, fast growers to 10 feet tall, fairly disease resistant (most susceptible to mold).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lonely Bike Rack

Today's photo is of a lonely bike rack in Pomona in search of a bike path. It makes pretty cool public art in the meantime.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Trader Joelessness

There's been a bright red Trader Joe's shopping cart in Lincoln Park for a few days. This seems like some distance for it to come, given that there are no Trader Joe's in all of Pomona (the fifth largest city in L.A. County.)

I wrote a post about my own Trader Joe's envy a few years back. My post actually got picked up by the Los Angeles Times blog.

While most places are clamoring to get a Trader Joe's, members of a community in Portland, Oregon successfully convinced Trader Joe's not to come there.

I suppose it's better to have no hope of a Trader Joe's than to think it's a done deal that you're getting one, only to find out you're not. And poor Upland: they had a Trader Joe's for years, only to have it up and close on them recently. My point is I'm coping with Trader Joelessness just fine.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Yoga with Celebrity Moms in Pomona

So at the Art WAlk last night, people were asking around if Edward James Olmos was really going to be there. Turns out he sent his mom Eleanor Huizar instead. That's actually kinda sweet. And yes, she looks just like him.

Christine Devine showed up, as she tweeted as much and someone at the art walk was bragging about taking a selfie with her.

The biggest news of the art walk, however, was that Pomona's first yoga and meditation studio is coming to downtown 2nd Street. Open Door will open their doors August 15. Their new space is located on the north side of the street, between Garey and Thomas. If you look in the windows, you can already see the dark hardwood floor they've laid down. I met the founder and abyss Melanie Yetter last night, where she and her staff were giving out free sticks of incense.

A yoga and meditation studio will be a nice addition to Pomona, even if you won't find Edward James Olmos downward dogging on the yoga mat next to you anytime soon. You may want to keep an eye out for Eleanor Huizar though. People who come to Pomona from other places tend to fall in love with the place. Guess that's why I'm still here 11 years later.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Enlightenment, Redwoods and Edward James Olmos in Pomona

One can find many interesting and unexpected things in Pomona.

Just four examples:

1. Enlightenment and tranquility.

Just ask Monica Woo, who wrote about finding it at Middleland Chan Monastery.

2. A Nationally-recognized Grove of Redwoods

At over 200 trees, it's supposed to be one of the largest collections of redwoods in the world! The Soroptomist Club of Pomona and Claremont help it grow and stay healthy.

3. Actor Edward James Olmos

Who will be at the Pomona Arts Walk tonight. And no, it's not to reprise his role as Montoya Santana. Just stop it!

Edward James will be receiving an award as part of the Don't Sleep Festival at Pomona's Latino Arts Museum.

4. Los Angeles TV news anchor Christine Devine.

Christine will also be receiving an award tonight. This is hardly her first time in Pomona, having written an article earlier this year about the fun she had at Pomona's Art Walk.

Friday, July 11, 2014

We Got Signs

My household's latest tagline for Pomona is "City of Signs" or the catchier "Sign City."

With all these signs about town, it's not surprising that Pomona is home to a few sign companies.

The oldest is Williams Sign Co., located between First and Second Streets east of downtown. The Williams' building is pristinely painted and decorated with awesome examples of their signage. Apparently Williams does the signs for In N Out. In N Out Burger that is.
I clarify because Pomona is also home to "In N Out Pomona Smog Check" at 1711 Holt Street. Last year, the owner there was nice enough to get me in and out at 4 p.m. on a Saturday.

While In N Out Pomona Smog Check's facilities are not quite as pristine as Williams, the place does have a certain Holt Street mystique.

If you go there, tell them you heard about them on the blog. I'm sure they won't have any idea what you are talking about.

Pomona has a new neon sign company on Garey, across the street from Pomona Flowers.

Pomona Flowers is home to one of my favorite Pomona signs, especially when one or another of the letters is burnt out to spell different words.

Dynamic Grafix at the corner of Jefferson and Garey makes signs. Really nice owner who supports the community and apparently U.C.L.A.

Lastly, Impact Signs out on Temple Street somewhere. Their motto and website is simply We Got Signs. The same can be said about Pomona.